Penn alum launches start-up to promote better study habits
Currently, StudyEgg is working with the University of Rhode Island, Brandeis University and the University of Florida
November 21, 2011, 11:15 pm · Updated November 22, 2011, 1:17 am·
The Penn student is all too familiar with the academic all-nighter — cramming in too many pages of reading and too many Red Bulls the night before the big exam.
With new start-up venture StudyEgg, 2007 College graduate Josh Silverman seeks to eliminate the all-nighter and replace it with productive study habits through curriculum-specific practice exams.
Silverman has always had an affinity for education. He participated with the West Philly Tutors program as an undergraduate, and continued on this route teaching English and information technology in Korea and Spain after donning his cap and gown.
Yet, this teacher quickly noticed a problem in the retention rates of his students.
“In general, about 55 percent of students use reading and re-reading as the primary way to study for exams,” Silverman explained, adding that “going through your readings, your notes and chapters repeatedly really doesn’t do much for your memory.”
According to research published in Science magazine last January, students who read a passage and then took a test asking them to recall what they had read retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who simply studied the material repeatedly and documented what they had learned with great detail.
As a New York Times article titled “To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take A Test” explains, taking a test may just be the best way to study.
With this in mind, Silverman co-founded StudyEgg to provide examinations that go in tandem with student curricula. Though initially envisioned for the smart phone platform, the now-beta edition of StudyEgg is an online enterprise.
“We decided to pull back on mobile for a while to get the web application where we want it,” Silverman said.
Currently, StudyEgg is working with the University of Rhode Island, Brandeis University and the University of Florida. Silverman has aligned StudyEgg with textbooks for various classes at each school.
“We’re really focused on knowledge acquisition where students have to remember an extraordinary amount of information,” Silverman said. “Biology, psychology, language and chemistry are our current major focuses.”
Silverman explained that if a student has an upcoming test in biology, by simply clicking on the first few chapters of the book on the site, the student will immediately be brought to a question-and-answer session.
StudyEgg “is entirely adapted to your needs based on how well you’re doing and the difficulty of the questions you’re answering correctly,” Silverman noted. The tests pay close attention to past performance to customize the questions asked.
College sophomore Chelsea Goldinger “would use a program like StudyEgg because I think it would be a nice way to check what I need to study more.”
The service is currently free to students and Silverman said he intends to keep it that way. “Our goal is that students should not have to pay for these resources.”
College freshman Ross Guilder has found the increased amount of reading in college challenging. “The quantity is much greater than high school which has made studying very difficult,” he said, adding that he has stayed up very late at night to do so. Guilder said he would use StudyEgg, but would also need to study his lecture notes in detail to feel prepared for his exams.
Wharton sophomore Max Federman said he is guilty of pulling all-nighters, but that this method ultimately works for him. “I will finish what I need to cover and somehow I will retain what I reviewed,” he said. Federman added that despite his study habits, he would “entertain the idea” of StudyEgg.